This season is beginning to resemble 2006-07 for All-Star forward Corey Perry, one of five Anaheim Ducks holdovers who helped them win their only Stanley Cup title seven years ago.
Rookie goalie Frederik Andersen won his sixth straight game to start his NHL career, making 35 saves in place of ailing Jonas Hiller, and the league-leading Ducks extended their winning streak to five with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.
”If you look around this room, we’ve got a lot of new faces,” Perry said. ”But there’s a lot of guys in here with a lot of character that want to win and prove that they belong here and go out there every night working as hard as they can. They’re playing every game like it’s their last. And if we keep doing that, we’re going to be successful.”
Perry had a goal and an assist, Nick Bonino got the go-ahead goal in the final minute of the second period and Andrew Cogliano added an empty-netter, helping Anaheim improve the NHL’s best record to 15-3-1 and the best home start in franchise history to 8-0.
”It’s surprising, but it’s a nice surprise,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. ”The way our training camp ended, with us losing the last three games — then losing to Colorado 6-1 in the opener — boy, I wouldn’t have thought that we would have put this kind of string together. But then they started to compete, started playing for each other and started battling for jobs.”
The Ducks are the league’s only undefeated team on home ice, and the first to win their first eight home games since the 2010-11 Los Angeles Kings. Anaheim’s 31 points through its first 19 games eclipsed the previous club mark of 30 set in that 2006-07 championship season.
Andersen became the first goalie to win his first six NHL games since Damian Rhodes did it for Toronto from March 1991 to December 1993.
According to a Ducks spokesman, Hiller was under the weather but available to play. He sat by the locker room watching the game at the end of the runway leading to the bench area.
Ducks captain and leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf, who had his first career hat trick Friday night in a 6-2 victory over Buffalo, was scratched for the first time this season because of an upper-body injury. Mathieu Perreault took his place on the team’s top line between Perry and Dustin Penner.
”When you’re missing the second-leading scorer in the league, one of the best players in the world — and your captain — you’re always going to miss him,” Boudreau said. ”But I thought we did a great job of battling. The team wanted to show that we can survive injuries because we’ve got good depth. It gave other guys a chance to play, and they stepped up.”
Tom Sestito scored his first goal of the season for the Canucks, back at Honda Center for the first time since beating Anaheim 5-0 last January in the Ducks’ lockout-delayed home opener.
”It’s been a struggle the past two games here,” said coach John Tortorella, whose team lost 5-1 to the Los Angeles Kings the previous night. ”We know what they are as players, we know what they are as people, and they are going to be the players we know they are. They are going to bounce out of it.”
The Canucks have played three consecutive games without a goal or an assist from either of the Sedin twins for the first time since last January, the second week of the lockout-delayed season.
”When you keep them off the scoresheet, you’re probably going to win,” Bonino said. ”Daniel Winnik’s line did a great job against them, and when other guys found themselves out there against them, they were aware. But you can’t run at them. That’s the biggest thing. They want you to come flying at them because they can spin off and make plays. So you have to play under control, but also get on them quick. We did that, and Freddie shut the door.”
Eddie Lack made 20 saves in his fourth NHL start, all of them on the road — including overtime victories against Calgary and St. Louis. The 25-year-old rookie played the final 28 minutes of Saturday’s game, stopping 13 of 14 shots after Roberto Luongo was pulled from a game for the first time since April 3, 2012, against the Ducks.
Anaheim led 2-1 after two periods despite getting outshot 29-16. Bonino slammed his fifth goal into a wide-open net after Emerson Etem got the puck from Perry in the left circle and drew Lack out of the crease.
Perry opened the scoring 8-1/2 minutes into the middle period with his 11th goal. Sestito tied it at 14:09 with his sixth goal in 77 NHL games.
The Ducks were 0 for 2 on the power play. The Canucks, who came in with a league-best penalty-killing percentage of 89.1, have killed off all 22 short-handed situations over their last seven games.
NOTES: Ducks assistant coach Scott Niedermayer was in Toronto on the eve of his induction into the Hall of Fame. . . . Andersen became the first Ducks goalie to win his first six NHL games. Viktor Fasth, who hasn’t played since Oct. 16 due to a lower-body injury, was 8-0 in his first nine appearances last season. . . . Luongo is 1-5-2 with a 4.09 goals-against average in his last 10 games against Anaheim. . . . The Canucks begin a six-game homestand Thursday night against San Jose. The Ducks start a four-game road trip Tuesday at Florida.